Please select your home edition
Edition
InSunSport - International - GR

It's the boat that matters, not the name

by Bruce Kirby on 24 Apr 2013
Bruce Kirby .
In an attempt to rescue the Laser Class from its downhill course of the past few years I have reluctantly decided that a name change, or re-branding is necessary. During the past three or four years dealers have had difficulty getting timely delivery of boats, and in particular, of parts. We have had calls and e-mails from various parts of the world asking if there is anything that can be done to save the Laser.

To give some idea how critical the situation with Lasers has become (as of mid-April, 2013) there is a boat shop in Toronto which has 52 American- built Lasers that have been brought in for repairs of various kinds.


Laser Performance in both Europe and North America own the name LASER and the sunburst symbol on the sail, but they don’t own the boat. Because I am owed quite a bit of money by these firms in unpaid design royalties it has been possible for me to terminate their building rights at both factories.

What the Laser sailing public must try to get their heads around is that it is not the name of the boat that matters, It is the boat itself - that 13’ 10' bit of fiberglass and aluminum that provides us with untold pleasure. I love the name Laser. I was there in the beginning when then builder Ian Bruce came up with it. I have lived with it and revered it for more than 40 years…but I know that if the boat is to be saved it must have a new name.

Laser Performance were terminated as builders last year, but the lawsuit was filed this year because production of the Laser unlawfully continued after termination. The International Laser Class Association (ILCA) in lock step with the International Sailing Federation (ISAF) participated in this unlawful manufacture by refusing to stop issuing Laser Performance the stick-on ISAF plaques that are attached to the inside of the aft face of the cockpit, identifying the boat as an authorized Kirby Sailboat permitted to be used in Laser class and ISAF sanctioned events.


I have tried to work with ILCA and ISAF on rebranding the boat, but they refused and demanded instead that I get a Court Order. So they are named in the lawsuit. After filing of the lawsuit, ISAF initially asked ILCA to stop issuing ISAF plaques to Laser Performance, but I don’t yet know if ILCA complied. In a new twist, ISAF and ILCA now seem prepared to issue a new version of the plaque to Laser Performance which removes my name from my own design.

This is not only against the Laser Construction Manual which ISAF and ILCA claim to hold Builders to, thereby insuring a true one-design class, but also reveals their true strategy to steal my design. The irony in all of this is that by continuing to provide plaques to Laser Performance against my wishes and our contracts, both ISAF and ILCA continue to collect money from Laser Performance for every boat made even while I am not being paid the design royalty.

In any event, all builders of the Laser have been terminated and the Kirby Sailboat will only be lawfully built under the Kirby Torch brand.

This does not violate any prior agreement I have with ISAF and ILCA since they explicitly only relate to manufacture of the Kirby Sailboat under the Laser brand.

ILCA and ISAF have trumped up a 'breach' in order to push through the 'Fundamental Rule' change designed to excuse nonpayment of my royalty by Laser Performance.

Their actions make their intentions clear: Steal the Kirby Sailboat from its designer.

New builders with stellar sailing and boat building credentials have signed agreements to follow the Construction Manual so that new Kirby Torches will be exactly like old Lasers, and both boats will be able to compete side by side under the rules of the Kirby Torch class. We have asked ILCA to set up the Kirby Torch class, but they continue to ignore us and the Torch even though there are no longer any licensed builder for the Laser. Go figure?!

So if you agree that what we are doing is in the best interests of the boat, please urge ILCA and your district Laser class organizations to cooperate with us for the sake of sailors throughout the world.

This is your boat. It’s my baby, but it’s your boat. With a simple change of the name we can offer a better quality product, consistent delivery and the steady supply of parts. The Kirby Torch Builders and Class Association will serve sailors—that is our promise to you and the reason I am taking on this fight. The fight is about pulling the boat out of the swamp it has been dragged into and handing it back to the sailors cleaned up and ready to move ahead for another 50 years.

I have been disappointed with the treatment handed to me by those who should be firmly on the side of the sailors, and so at the age of 84 I am throwing all my energy into meetings, phone calls and e-mails to save the little boat.

Please join me in this endeavor and support the Torch. I can no longer race with you, but I can cheer you on.

www.kirbytorch.com

NaiadT Clewring AC72Colligo Marine 660x82

Related Articles

Laser Masters World Championships opening in Oman
Laser Masters World Championships 2013 get underway on Monday 2nd December at 12.00pm with two races scheduled. Laser Masters World Championships 2013 get underway on Monday 2nd December at 12.00pm with two races scheduled. Just a week after the curtain came down on an action packed Laser World Championships, a new set of starting signals were sounded in Mussanah Beach today to mark the opening of the Laser Masters World Championships 2013 following a lively launch party last night.
Posted on 2 Dec 2013
Laser Standard Worlds- Robert Scheidt claims ninth Laser title + Video
Robert Scheidt was crowned 2013 Laser World Champion in Oman for the ninth time today Robert Scheidt was crowned 2013 Laser World Champion in Oman for the ninth time today after winning the final race of the regatta then proclaimed this Laser World Championship title as his best so far. The 40 year-old Brazilian sailor started the last race just one point ahead of rival Pavlos Kontides but put in a flawless performance to win by two boat lengths
Posted on 24 Nov 2013
Laser Standard Worlds - Day 6- Mistakes and mixed fortunes + Video
At the Laser Standard World Championships, it has been a day of mistakes and mixed fortunes among the main contenders. At the Laser Standard World Championships, a day of mistakes and mixed fortunes among the main contenders for the title has paved the way for a thrilling finale in Oman with the last two races on Saturday set to determine medals and futures.
Posted on 23 Nov 2013
Laser World Championships - Video interview with Robert Scheidt
Laser World Championships - A revealing and personal interview with Robert Scheidt The Laser World Championships are currently underway in Oman. In a revealing and personal interview, five time Olympic medal winner and eight time Laser World Champion Robert Scheidt talks about his sailing aspirations, his family and how he has kept at the top of his game for so long.
Posted on 21 Nov 2013
Laser World Championships - Nick Thompson gunning for gold
Nick Thompson is heading into next week’s Laser World Championships in Oman. Nick Thompson, with three World Championship medals already under his belt is in no doubt as to where his sights lie heading into next week’s Laser World Championships in Oman (17-23 November).
Posted on 12 Nov 2013
Laser World Championships - Legends' return raises the stakes
The return of Brazilian sailing legend Robert Scheidt has raised the stakes among the 2016 Olympic Games contenders. At the Laser Standard Men’s World Championships 2013 , the return of Brazilian sailing legend Robert Scheidt after nine years in the Star class has raised the stakes among the 2016 Olympic Games contenders at the Laser Standard Men’s World Championships 2013 starting in the Sultanate of Oman on Sunday November 17, organized and hosted by the Ministry of Sports Affairs and Oman Sail.
Posted on 12 Nov 2013
Laser Lawsuit - Kirby´s dramatic move
Kirby Inc. increases pressure on LP, ISAF and the ILCA when they asked Court to issue a prejudgment remedy against LP. Kirby Inc. yesterday dramatically increased the pressure on LP, ISAF and the ILCA when they asked the US Federal Court in Connecticut to issue a prejudgment remedy against LP. If this was to be granted as requested LP and its associates would be unable to build Lasers or have anyone else build them for them, while the Courts then could take their time hearing the case.
Posted on 18 May 2013
Kirby files to cancel Laser Trademark and Sunburst Logo for Boats
Bruce Kirby Inc. today filed the below petition to cancel US trademark registrations Bruce Kirby Inc. today filed the below petition to cancel US trademark registrations directed to both the word LASER and the Sunburst logo for boats. According to US Trademark Office records, these US registrations are owned by Karaya (Jersey) Limited based in St. Helier, Jersey, Channel Islands.
Posted on 11 May 2013
Canadian Olympic Regatta Kingston to host Laser World Championships
Canadian Olympic Regatta Kingston to host the 2015 Laser Standard men’s and masters World Championship. International Laser Class Association announces that CORK (Canadian Olympic Regatta Kingston) will host the 2015 Laser Standard Men’s World Championship and 2015 Laser Masters’ World Championships.
Posted on 9 May 2013
US Laser trademarks up for grabs?
The following opinion piece has been provided by Improper Course: The following opinion piece has been provided by Improper Course, a blog which is a collection of the sailing education and adventures of two sailors on opposite ends of the experience and success spectrum. It ranges from the Laser Master Worlds to the local Laser sailing as well as a couple of other dinghies and the occasional keelboat.
Posted on 8 May 2013